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Wo/Men of Pearls: Melissa Gecolea, TV Anchor and Supervising Producer

Melissa Gecolea is the consummate story-teller. Straight out of university, the TV Anchor and Supervising Producer set out to find her calling. For Melissa, it was journalism. In this colourful interview with ARAO, the Woman of Pearls shares, “You have to want to be a journalist. You have to have a passion for telling stories or digging for the truth if you work in Daily News or Current Affairs. A thirst for continued learning is key.” The work she does demands long work hours so she makes an effort to have one day a week to herself to relax. When it comes to style, Melissa is the stick-to-one type. “My philosophy is to find a style that suits you and stick with it. This way you know whatever you wear is flattering.” Her go-to when it comes to fine jewellery, a pair of pearl stud earrings–but in all the lustrous shades of white, champagne and pink. “They’re classic,” she says. 





  1.         What keeps you busy these days? 



Work. I have long days: 9:30AM to 8:20PM,  including an hour plus commute each way. Luckily,  I love my job. I get to cover topics that interest me, meet and interview interesting people, experts, hear their stories and share them with others. I do a ton of research for each story and I always consider the visuals of the story since it's a visual medium. Some stories are really better for print. 

Video is challenging since you have to consider what to film, how, and then weave it in with the story. Shooting is more time consuming than people realize, since they only see the short edited version. But I love the challenge of putting a story together!





  1.         How did you come to find your current career or life’s work?



I studied print journalism in school with no intention of going into television. Writing is my strong suit. When I moved to the Philippines after finishing university, I found journalism was different than it is in other places. I kind of just stumbled into broadcast journalism. 

The opportunity presented itself. I was hired to present the hourly news updates on GMA-7. On my first day of work, before the 24-hr news cycle had become the norm in media, I was the first (and only) person in the office. The graveyard shift cameraman came in with blood on his shoes and  asked who I was. He said he needed a reporter. I said, 'sure I can do that,' and ended up covering what became a huge landmark kidnapping case at the time. When I returned to the office the producers were surprised I could write and that my story was decent. From then on I was allowed to go out and cover as a roving reporter. 

I eventually became the Defense Reporter. I also did the hourly news updates, but I got fulfillment in my job as a reporter. From there, I hopped over to ABS-CBN as a producer for an investigative show called   Assignment. Since then, I've been working in broadcast–in the Philippines, London and here.





  1.         What is it about your work or career that you enjoy most? 


It's getting to meet interesting people, pick the brains of experts on topics that interest me, learn new things, and attempt to share them with a wider audience in a way that's easier to understand and digest. 






  1. For people who aspire for similar careers, what would be your advice?



It's a calling. You have to want to be a journalist. You have to have a passion for telling stories or digging for the truth if you work in Daily News or Current Affairs. A thirst for continued learning is key since you have to keep up to date with so many things. It's a lot of work behind the scenes–research, connecting the dots, writing, editing. So you have to really enjoy that kind of thing for it to feel rewarding.



  1.       What are the career milestones that inspire you to break the glass or mold?  



My philosophy is to keep moving forward. Every time I meet a deadline or achieve a career milestone, I don't dwell on it so much and think of what's next. 





  1.         How do you unwind or recharge? Any favorite spots in your current city that you consider as your me-time haven?



I make sure I have a day to myself or at least half a day on those weeks when I work 6 days a week. I block a day to not see anyone and to do what I want to do. This always includes working out. It's my form of mind-clearing and keeping me sane. Knowing I don't have any appointments, social or otherwise, is very relaxing. 


I really like my place so it's my haven. It's always been important that I  love my place, so it's usually my favorite place to relax. I don't understand hotel staycations. everything I want is in my place. 


  1.         How would you describe your personal style? What are your wardrobe essentials? 



I like to buy the same thing in different colors. So I have at least two dozen of the same style dress in different colors or prints. It makes getting dressed very easy since it's only a question of what color dress to wear. If I'm going out and want to not wear flats and look taller, then I'll wear wedges. I wear jackets only for work/ on-cam. 





  1.     What makes for a good investment piece? Kindly cite examples of pieces in your current wardrobe. 



My philosophy is to find a style that suits you and stick with it. This way you know whatever you wear is flattering. The only difference will be the color or pattern from day to day. My wardrobe is full of wrap dresses and two similar styles of sleeveless and short sleeved dresses. 




  1. What do pearls mean to you?



I wear pearl stud earrings everyday and have done so for about 20 years now.. They're my go-to earrings. I have a few slightly different shades: White, pinkish, champagne. They're classic.




  1.   What is everyday luxury for you?